Ebay Madness: Militia – The Sybling (1985) E.P. sells for $2550

Militia is a Thrash/Speed Metal band from Austin, Texas and is one of the more famous independent U.S. Metal bands from back in the mid-80s. The legend of Militia grows everytime a copy of this majorly sought after 3 song, 15+ minute e.P. shows up on Ebay and sells for thousands. Yes, I said THOUSANDS! Militia came on my radar when I discovered their profile on the Texas Metal Underground website. From there I listened to the E.P. at Vibrations Of Doom. This is a record I could only dream of finding in a vinyl bin at some hole-in-the-wall record store! The Militia page at Encyclopedia Metallum has a little more info on the release:

Recorded in September 1985. The EP was officially released as a 12″ limited to 100 copies. Bootlegged on 7″ sometime in the early ’90s. One of the most sought after metal collector items, the original has sold for $3000 and even the bootleg goes for over $50. Also bootlegged on a split CD by Revenge of True Metal Records.

Militia pic 1

Militia pic 2

Militia – The Sybling E.P. (1985) sells for $2550

Seller: satxz
Country: USA
Starting Price: 99 cents
Bids: 34

Like most copies of THE SYBLING, this one is from San Antonio, Texas so it’s from the area that the band started in. The two pictures above are from the seller and the album looks like a legit copy. The seller also listed four other pictures: the lyric sheet insert, the vinyl, and two pictures of the himself with the record with the band from 2008. My only problem with the auction is that the seller has a zero feedback rating and is generally new to Ebay. A zero feedback rating always puts up a red flag to me but, as everything on Ebay, it’s “buyer beware” so hopefully the transaction goes smoothly. The album started at 99 cents and went up over $2200 within 24 hours! I don’t know who the winner is but I’d love to know how someone spends $2550 on a 3 song/15 minute E.P.!

As a side note, Rockadrome Records has released a compilation CD from Militia titled RELEASED (2008) that includes 2 early demos, THE SYBLING, and a couple of outtakes and live tracks. If you want to own all that Militia has recorded, including this E.P., then save yourself $2537 and spend the $13 on the new CD.

WANTED: Mach 1 – s/t (1989)

WANTED

Mach 1 (1989)

Mach 1 (1989) pic 2

 Mach 1 – s/t (1989)

When I first got onto Ebay back in 1998, this independent CD was one of the high priced rarities that had collector’s dropping big bucks. I was new to the collector’s market so I was shocked to see a CD go for a few hundred dollars, especially one from a band I had never heard of without a record deal. Since 1998, I’ve had the Mach 1 album on my Ebay favorites so I could track down a copy for a reasonable price. A few years later, CD Baby was offering the CD for $29.99. Seems the band had some extra copies lying around and they sold them through CD Baby. Unfortunately, the album sold out just as quickly as it had appeared and it’s never been available since. I’ve been keeping track of the Mach 1 CD ever since and about 2 months ago I almost won a copy for under $50.

Mach 1 has a MySpace page and there is a brief history, 4 songs from this album and a link to an iTunes download. Here is the brief history of the band from their MySpace page:

Mach One was the forerunner L.A. based Armenian Heavy Metal band.

Formed in Los Angeles in 1987 by Donny Sarian (former drummer of Divine Rite) – Drums, Lead Vocals, Vahé Marzbetuny (Red Snow) – Guitar, and Zareh Marzbetuny (Red Snow) – Bass, they became highly successful on the L.A. Club circuit with sold out shows at the Whiskey, Roxy and Troubador being par for the course.

The band broke ground with melodic musical structure, and truly meaningful socially conscious lyrics during a time when most metal bands wrote about more frivolous and innocuous topics. Their signature sound was reminiscent of Classic Hard Rock/Metal “ala” Queesryche, Judas Priest and even UFO.

The final cut on the CD became a call to arms in recognition of the 1915 Armenian Genocide and a massive hit with the Armenian community world wide. The song aptly entitled “Our Forgotten Cry” tells the chilling story of the suffering and mass murder that the Armenian’s faced from the Turkish government during WWI.

Other highlights on the CD are “Pain of Desire” with it’s heavy backbeat and nightmarish lyrics of a love lost, and “Turn Around” which is a sad tale of living life under the control of fears. The original CD was released in 1989 to rave reviews hailing it’s message and brilliant musicianship.

For the live shows Dean Bradley was brought into the band to take over lead vocal duties, (Donny not wanting to compromise the visual effect by singing from behind his massive drum kit and unwilling to give up the drum throne).

Mach 1 broke up in 1992, but have left a legacy which remains to this day and is continued through brothers Vahé and Zareh’s band Red Snow as well as through Donny Sarian’s bands Big Franklin and Randy Pevler.

Current Playlist

Day off Saturday…..here’s what was burning up the stereo and the iPod today…..

KISS – Sonic Boom (2009): I can’t get enough of the new KISS record! I wanted to live with it a couple of weeks before I reviewed it because I didn’t want the fanboy in me to overpower the truth. After repeated listens, it’s a solid record…..better than PSYCHO CIRCUS (1998).

Ace Frehley – Anomaly (2009): This one gets lumped in with the new KISS because Ace is part of the KISS extended family. I wanted to give this a ton of play before I reviewed it, also so I could compare it to the SONIC BOOM. Great comeback for Ace!

Anvil – This Is Thirteen (2009 reissue): I’ve had the album since late 2007 or early 2008 when I ordered it through the band’s website…..I loved it then and I love it now. I picked up the reissue for the bonus track, the never recorded, ‘Thumb Hang’. See the movie, buy the record.

Firehouse – s/t (1990): I saw the video for ‘Don’t Treat Me Bad’ on VH-1 Classic and I pulled the CD out for a fresh listen. I used to love this album back in the day! I remember no one else really got into the band until all the chicks heard ‘Love Of A Lifetime’…..everyone ended up buying it. The good news is that it’s track #11 so you can hit the <skip> button and finish the record. Check out the video, this is the first version, there’s another with a woman throwing all of Bill Leverty’s stuff out a window.

Ozzy Osbourne – Down To Earth (2001): I pulled this album out because my best friend is an Ozzy freak and we were discussing the merits of Ozzy’s last four solo albums. Obviously NO MORE TEARS (1991) and OZZMOSIS (1995) are great records, and I thought BLACK RAIN (2007) sucked, but this album is forgotten. I remember seeing the tour stop in Worcester, MA and the show wasn’t Ozzy’s best…..after a few listens, neither is the album. I like it better than BLACK RAIN.

Bon Jovi – 7800° Fahrenheit (1985): OK, I realize Bon Jovi isn’t as Metal, or even Hard Rock, as some of the other bands I usually listen to but 7800° FAHRENHEIT is a solid record. This is before Bon Jovi broke the bank so I like this & the debut a lot better. Everyone forgets ‘In And Out Of Love’ and ‘Tokyo Road’, two great songs the band should play live.

David Lee Roth – A Little Ain’t Enough (1991): I am huge Diamond Dave fan and I have bought every Diamond Dave solo album when it’s come out so I picked this up back in 1991 and I still love it today. The title track is just pure Dave. Too bad he fell out of the limelight quickly after this album, he was a great performer. He still has 3 more solo albums after this though but his was his last good one.

Thunder – Backstreet Symphony (1990): Thunder were one of those bands that came out just as my senior year in high school was ending and we all jumped on the bandwagon at the parking lot parties. ‘Dirty Love’ got a ton of airplay back in the day on local radio and on MTV, there were 2 versions of the video. I always listen to mid-90s Thunder when I got back into the band but it’s cool to re-live the debut.

CD Scavenger Hunt – catching up edition

It’s been a long time since I updated what I’ve picked up at the local shops and online so here’s a list of what I’ve bought in the last couple of months…..

Ebay

UFO – No Place To Run (1980/2009 reissue), The Wild, The Willing & The Innocent (1981/2009 reissue), Mechanix (1982/2009 reissue), Making Contact (1983/2009 reissue), Misdemeanor (1985/2009 reissue) – $50: OK, that’s a lot of albums! I already own all the UFO album except for MISDEMEANOR and I had been searching for the 2000 Japanese pressing to complete my set…..it goes for $50+ on Ebay. Same thing with MAKING CONTACT, I own a Japanese copy but not the 2000 import with the bonus tracks. So what is so special about these new reissues? The first thing is that they are remastered, that doesn’t really affect me. The second is the bonus tracks from the 2000 reissues plus more bonus tracks added in. Third, these new reissues are cheaper and easier to get! I ended up buying MISDEMEANOR from one seller and the other four from another. I wasn’t planning on buying so many of these reissues but I ended up getting a good deal from the second seller on CD price and shipping. I ended spending $50 total for 5 CDs, that includes the shipping charges.

CD Inzane

Want to try a good online store? Visit CD Inzane, I use them all the time and they always have what I want at a slightly better price than a couple other stores I use. They also have things in stock, some places advertise titles before the have it in stock and then you have to wait until they get it in. Here’s my last order, $101 total with free shipping…..

U.D.O. - Dominator (2009)U.D.O. – Dominator (2009) – $25: This was my most expensive purchase but I couldn’t wait for the U.S. release. I ended up spending an extra $10 for the European edition with the bonus track ‘Pleasure In The Darkroom’ and the video for ‘Black & White’. Usually Udo Dirkschneider is good about releasing the album bonus tracks on a pre-release E.P. but this time around it didn’t happen. I’m a big U.D.O. fan so I didn’t mind spending the extra money, I already knew what the album sounded like because I was lucky enough to get a digital promo copy from AFM Records, you can read the review here.

cage-science-of-annihilation-2009Cage – Science Of Annihilation (2009) – $11: I have been waiting to pick up the latest Cage album for a while now. Just like the U.D.O. album, I was lucky to receive a digital promo download of the album so I could review it. The problem was that the download didn’t go through and I was left with nothing to review. I was going to pick this up anyway, download or not, because Cage is an excellent U.S. Power Metal band and all of their albums are great.

Jorn Lande - Spirit Black (2009)Jorn Lande – Spirit Black (2009) – $14: The new Jorn Lande album has been on my list for a while but I just never got around to picking it up. I saw one copy at the local record store and they haven’t restocked it since. CD Inzane had a great price for the European import digipak with the bonus track ‘The Sun Goes Down’ so I decided not to wait any longer. I’m not sure if the U.S. version has the bonus track but I know that I paid at least two or three dollars less than I would have in the record store.

FarCryHighGearFarCry – High Gear (2009) – $11: I’m not sure where I heard about FarCry first but all of a sudden most of the websites I frequent were raving about the band and this debut album. Usually solid melodic Hard Rock like this comes from Europe but FarCry is an all American band and they sound similar to bands like Danger Danger, Bon Jovi, Tyketto and Firehouse. So far, one of the best new bands I’ve heard this year!

outloud-cdOutloud – We’ll Rock You To Hell And Back Again! (2009) – $16: Another new band that I’ve had on my list to check out. Outloud has been getting a ton of great reviews and it’s another ’80s styled melodic Hard Rock album Frontiers Records is well known for. I had been watching Ebay and other online vendors but I saved close to $4 + shipping by ordering it through CD Inzane. So far it’s a great record…..you have to love the album cover, it reminds me of some old obscure ’80s record.

Bitchfire2009Bitchfire – s/t (2009) – $10: All I know about Bitchfire is that lead singer Sharyn Peach had been a singer on the Boston, MA rock scene for a number of years. I was researching local bands and I somehow landed on Bitchfire, found a few reviews and decided to give the band a shot. This is an independent release from the band so I was able to track it down at a decent price. I haven’t given it a spin yet but I’m hopeful.

UZI - MadhouseUZI – Madhouse (2009) – $13: UZI is one of those obscure late ’80s/early ’90s Hard Rock bands that came out just when the overblown L.A. scene was starting to unravel. MADHOUSE is a reissue of 10 long lost songs from UZI’s recording sessions close to 20 years ago. I like hearing obscure bands from back in the day and I read a lot of positive reviews so I ordered this one too. I was a sucker for the band name and the album cover, I might have given this a shot if I had found it in the record stores.

Record Stores

Megadeth endgameMegadeth – Endgame (2009) – $12: One of the most highly anticipated albums of the year! I ran out the day ENDGAME was released and pick it up at the great sale price but I still haven’t unwrapped it! That’s the thing with me and Megadeth…..I buy all the band’s albums but I end up getting around to them weeks/months later. I did the same thing with UNITED ABOMINATIONS and felt like an idiot after I finally gave it a listen.

ace-frehley-anomaly-2009Ace Frehley – Anomaly (2009) – $10: Of course I ran out to Best Buy the day ANOMALY came out, I’ve been waiting 6 or 7 years for Ace to finally release this album after so much talk about it when he left KISS again. It’s been 20 years since Ace released TROUBLE WALKIN’ (1989), and his contributions to KISS – PSYCHO CIRCUS (1998) were limited, so it’s cool to hear Ace take flight with an all new record. Pretty cool artwork and packaging on top of a great album.

KISS - Sonic Boom (2009)KISS – Sonic Boom (2009) – $12: If I ran out the day of release for the new Ace Frehley album then you better believe this KISS diehard was at Wal-Mart at 9am after I dropped my kids at school! The first all new KISS studio album in 11 years, Paul Stanley in full control, and a bonus CD and DVD for $12…..that’s a deal! I already have the greatest hits bonus CD because I bought the Japanese import last year. The DVD is a nice preview of the tour but the real reason to buy this is the new songs…..so far I’m really enjoying it.

anvil-this-is-thirteen-2007Anvil – This Is Thirteen (2007/2009 reissue) – $10: I’ve had this album since late 2007 when I bought it directly from the Anvil website. Two years later, the band is re-releasing the album on VH-1 Classic Records due to all the hype and success of the documentary ANVIL: THE STORY OF ANVIL. Why not capitalize on the success and get the latest album distributed to a wider audience? The reissue gets a bonus track, the previously unreleased ‘Thumb Hang’.

3inches_doom3 Inches Of Blood – Here Waits Thy Doom (2009) – $10: 3 Inches Of Blood has become one of my favorite new Metal bands so I’m always on top of their new records. This was another highly anticipated release for me but I haven’t given this a spin yet! I’m not really sure what my problem is, I bought it right away and it’s made it’s way into the famous “pile”. I’m going to have to pull this out and listen this week.

SUNSTORM - house of dreamsSunstorm – House Of Dreams (2009) – $16: The smoothest singer in all of Rock is back with another Sunstorm project…..I will buy anything Joe Lynn Turner sings on. I had the first Sunstorm album when it first came out and it was excellent AOR/melodic Hard Rock so I was expecting much of the same from this new record. Nothing is better than a JLT record, his last solo album was one of my top albums of 2007.

Trouble - Simple Mind ConditionTrouble – Simple Mind Condition (2009) – $15: What did this take, a decade to finally get released? Trouble was one of those bands back in the day that I always thought would be HUGE! Great records like THE SKULL, PSALM 9, and MANIC FRUSTRATION. This album has had so many delays and so the U.S. release date was pushed back so many times. It’s been out in Europe since 2007 but the prices were high and the availability limited. It’s out now and time to enjoy some Trouble.

white-wizzard-high-speed-gtoWhite Wizzard – High Speed GTO (2009) – $9: Another new band that I really don’t know much about except that they are from Los Angeles and they play old school Heavy Metal. I like the band name, the logo and the cover art of the album…..it all screams NWOBHM or early U.S. Metal. It’s a 7 song disc so it’s more of an E.P. that a full length album, the band has another 7 song E.P. from 2008 titled WHITE WIZZARD that I am seeking out.

death - scream bloody goreDeath – Scream Bloody Gore (1987) – $10: My quest for trying out more extremem forms of Metal brought me to Death’s classic debut album, SCREAM BLOODY GORE. I’m determined to try out as many classic and newer Black & Death Metal bands as I can so I decided to go with what is regarded as one of the first proper Death metal albums. I’ve listened to it a few times and it’s really good, I can’t believe that I never got into Death during all these years.

Immortal - All Shall FallImmortal – All Shall Fall (2009) – $10: I’ve read a ton online about how reat Immortal was but I’ve never bothered to listen to a song. Again, I’m not the biggest Black Metal fan but I want to at least check out some of these bands so I know if I’m missing something. I had no idea that Immortal had a new album coming out so I picked it up to check out what they had to offer. Usually I like to buy the first album and work my way up but I couldn’t remember the name of their debut. Spending $10 to try something new is OK in my book.

The Story Of Anvil movie picAnvil – The Story Of Anvil DVD (2009) – $20: I have been waiting for this documentary to come out on DVD all year. Europe and Japan have had it for a few months but now VH-1 Classic Records is properly releasing the movie on DVD with extras. I already saw the movie back in May but I will still give this a full review soon, I can’t wait to watch it again. Good for Anvil, they deserve all their success!

Behemoth – Evangelion (2009)

behemoth-evangelion

Behemoth – Evangelion (2009, Metal Blade)

  1. Daimonos
  2. Shemhamforash
  3. Ov Fire And The Void
  4. Transmigrating Beyond Realms Ov Amenti
  5. He Who Breeds Pestilence
  6. The Seed Ov I
  7. Alas, Lord Is Upon Me
  8. Defiling Morality Ov Black God
  9. Lucifer

Band Lineup:
Adam “Nergal” Darski – Vocals, Guitars
Zbigniew Robert “Inferno” Prominski – Drums, Percussion
Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski – Bass
Patryk Dominik “Seth” Sztyber – Session Guitars

Producers: Nergal & Behemoth

Country: Poland

Total Time = 42:00

Behemoth
Behemoth MySpace page
Metal Blade Records

One of my goals for 2009 was to open up my ears to more extreme forms of Metal and one album I decided I would buy when it came out was this new Behemoth record, EVANGELION. I have to plead ignorance here because I’m not a big follower of the Death Metal and Black Metal scenes and I had never heard a song from Behemoth. I knew who the band was, I knew what kind of music they played, but I had never bothered to check them out. I ended up getting a press release from Metal Blade Records about the banning of Behemoth’s video for ‘Ov Fire And The Void’ on different TV channels and internet sites…..that peaked my interest and I searched it out online.

So what does EVANGELION sound like? Well I expected just a ton of noise and “cookie monster” vocals but the overall sound is much more than that. The guitars are absolutely brutal, buzzing riffs and solos everywhere, the double bass drums pulsate and the bass is as brutal as the guitars. Nergal’s vocals are guttural growls that are barely understandable (I needed the lyric sheet to follow along) but they are powerful in their delivery and intensity. What sets this album apart, what sets each song apart, is the use of different instrumentation and orchestration to lend a slightly melodic side to the evil sound Behemoth creates. Sometimes I have a hard time differentiating each song because they do sound a lot alike but I think that’s because I haven’t really experienced much Black/Death Metal before. The opening song ‘Daimonos’ had this epic feel to it and I got sucked in to a good headbang. Same thing with ‘Shemhamforash’ and the previously mentioned ‘Ov Fire And The Void’, once I gave the album repeated listens I started to recognize the individuality of each track. The most intriguing song on EVANGELION is the last one, ‘Lucifer’. Talk about an evil sound! I may not know much about this style of Metal but when you hear something that evil, that epic, you know it’s good. ‘Lucifer’ has plenty of straight up brutal blackened death but the melodic orchestration and effects make this track almost otherworldly.

Bottom Line:
Like I said before, I don’t know much about Black or Death Metal but I’m trying different bands, different albums, and I’m hearing a lot that I like. Having never heard a Behemoth song before this I have to say I’m impressed, not just with the music but with myself that I got into it so much. Of all the new releases I’ve picked up this year, EVANGELION is one of the albums I’ve played the most. At first I was just trying to understand Behemoth, now I’m enjoying Behemoth. I will be checking out some of their earlier releases.

Favorite Songs:
‘Daimonos’, ‘Ov Fire And The Void’, ‘Transmigrating Beyond Realms Ov Amenti’, ‘Lucifer’

Current Playlist

I may have let the blog go downhill a little but I have definitely been listening to a lot of music…..a lot of new releases that I’ve picked up recently. This has been another great year for Hard Rock and Heavy Metal! Here’s a sample of what I’ve been spinning…..

KISS – Sonic Boom (2009): Of course I’m listening to the new KISS record! Nothing is better than your favorite band releasing a new album and this is 11 years in the making. I have to admit that I didn’t really get into SONIC BOOM after the first couple of spins but I’ve given it a lot of time and I’m starting to really enjoy it.

Ace Frehley – Anomaly (2009): Of course I’m listening to the new Ace album! So far I like it a lot better then KISS’ SONIC BOOM, he beat them to the punch by releasing his new album first. Ace always had the talent, he just lacked the focus, ANOMALY proves that.

Queensryche – American Soldier (2009): I have this annoying habit of picking up albums when they are released and not listening to them, this is the case of the new Queensryche record. I’ve had it, it’s been sitting on my desk, it’s was still wrapped in the cellophane. I ended up putting it in and was impressed with the overall concept and performance. I wasn’t digging the idea of another Queensryche concept album but I’m really enjoying it.

Immortal – All Shall Fall (2009): I wanted to start getting into more extreme styles of Metal so I started picking up different Death & Black Metal bands up over the last few weeks. I’ve given this only a couple of spins and I’m not really sure what to make of it. Black Metal isn’t my first genre of choice but I’m keeping my mind, and ears, open.

Johnny Lima – Livin’ Out Loud (2009): I’ve been listening to this a lot over the last few weeks. It’s really good melodic hard Rock that leans toward Def Leppard, Poison, Dokken and Bon Jovi…..one of my favorite albums this year.

Lita Ford – Wicked Wonderland (2009): The Queen Of Metal’s big comeback! I’ve given it two spins and I’m not overly impressed. Could be a grower so I’ll give it some more time.

Spinal Tap – Back From The Dead (2009): Love the movie, love the soundtrack, love BREAK LIKE THE WIND (1992). I’m not sure if Tap’s brand of comic Metal is what we need in 2009 but it’s a cool break from the ultra-serious way the scene usually is. I could have gone for a straight up new record but I’ll take the re-done classics as a bonus.

Heaven & Hell – The Devil You Know (2009): I still can’t get enough of this album, one of my favorites of the year. I still wish there were more faster songs though.

Saxon – Into The Labyrinth (2009): One of my top albums since it came out back in January. Saxon is one of those bands that I can never get enough of and INTO THE LABYRINTH satisfies both the old school NWOBHM fan in me as well as the Power Metal fan in me. This will definitely be in the running for this year’s best.

Ted Poley – Greatestits (2009): Search for the cover and you’ll understand the spelling! 2 CDs, 23 songs, all spanning Ted Poley’s career after Danger Danger. There are some excellent songs here and now I’m making a list of all the Poley projects I don’t have and need to buy.

Phil Vincent – Passion & Pain (2009)

Phil Vincent - Passion & Pain (2009)

Phil Vincent – Passion & Pain (2009, independent release)

  1. New Way To Live
  2. Locked Up In Love
  3. Comin’ Apart At The Seams
  4. Rumors (Part 1 & 2)
  5. All Because Of You
  6. One Chance
  7. Keep Runnin’
  8. Top Of The World
  9. Will You Remember?
  10. Wastin’ My Time
  11. Who Do You Think You Are?
  12. I Want You Now

Musicians:
Phil Vincent - All Vocals, Lead/Acoustic/Rhythm Guitars, Piano, Organ, Keyboards, Bass & Drums
Michael Riesenbeck – Lead Guitars on tracks 9 & 11
Steven Albanese – Lead Guitars on tracks 1, 5 & 6
Michael J. Sprague – Electric Guitar fills & Acoustic guitar on track 6
William Roux – Lead Guitar on track 4

Producer: Phil Vincent

Country: Rhode Island, USA

Total Time = 51:24

Phil Vincent
Phil Vincent MySpace page

New England melodic rocker Phil Vincent has released another album this year, this time a solo release, titled PASSION & PAIN. You might remember reading about Phil when I reviewed another album that he did, OUTLAW, with other local musicians in the band Tragik. If you read that review and checked out the album then you know that Phil Vincent and quality AOR/Melodic Rock go hand in hand. If you take a look at Phil’s website, you’ll see the influences he lists: The Beatles, Boston, Journey, Dokken, Harem Scarem, Talisman, Pink Floyd and Survivor. With this being album #11, Phil has made himself a solid career just under the radar of the national spotlight by tapping those influences and creating some exciting Hard Rock.

The album kicks off with the hard charging ‘New Way To Live’ that features some excellent guitar work from Steven Albanese and the heavy groove of ‘Locked Up In Love’. These two songs set the tone for the rest of the album right away: solid production, good songwriting, lots of guitars and passionate lyrics. Definitely a winning formula! ‘Comin’ Apart At The Seams’ continues the heavy guitar rock but with some subtle keyboard touches and intricate guitar solos…..one of my favorites from the album.

The longest song on the album is ‘Rumors (Pts. 1 & 2)’ with it’s mid-tempo pace and accompanying piano and harmonies. It’s got that power ballad feel to it but there’s enough gritty guitar and a good beat to kind of keep it out of pure ballad criteria, love the sweeping guitar and the soulful vocals. More pure Hard Rock pumps with ‘All Because Of You’, a track that sounds like the more modern and heavier side of Dokken, while the heavier mid-tempo crunch of ‘One Chance’ with the Dokken influence and a heavy Rainbow/Uriah Heep Hammond Organ. There’s always something about songs with that organ sound in it that I like. Same thing with ‘Keep Runnin’, it has that ’70s Rock sound going for it with the heavy guitars and space prog opening but it actually moves into a more melodic state. I really like the ’80s melodic rock of ‘Top Of The World’, one of the best songs on the album full of melody and hooks.

‘Will You Remember?’ continues the Hard Rock punch with some good harmonies but a heavy modern rock sound while ‘Wastin’ My Time’ has a more melodic delivery. Both songs are quality Hard Rock and they fall in line with the rest of the album but I kind of get the feeling that I’ve heard them already. I like the change-up with the mid-tempo/ballad ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’, the song has this thumping bass that puts in a certain groove and the melodies really drive the song. There’s an ’80s influence and the guitars sound really good, they actually get heavier as the song progresses, and the keyboards are subtle…..a very cool tune. Closing out the record is the modern rock of ‘I Want You Now’. For some reason I just can’t get into this song, it just sounds too simplistic especially in the chorus and the vocals sound processed.

Bottom Line:
Overall a solid record! Like I said when I reviewed the Tragik album, it’s always good to hear quality music from local bands. Phil Vincent has been a mainstay on the RI/MA local scene for a long time and he always releases quality albums, PASSION & PAIN keeps the streak alive.  The album is excellent melodic Hard Rock with a few ballad/mid-tempo tracks thrown in for good measure. Everything here is top notch from the songwriting, to the performances, to the production. Phil Vincent should get more exposure worldwide, he’s definitely a hidden gem that people need to discover.

Favorite Songs:
‘New Way To Live’, ‘Locked Up In Love’, ‘Comin’ Apart At The Seams’, ‘One Chance’, ‘Top Of The World

KISS and Buckcherry in concert at TD Garden (Boston, MA) – 10/5/09

Nothing is better than seeing your favorite band in concert and that was surely the case Monday night as I went to the KISS concert up in Boston at TD Garden (formerly the Boston Garden). There were a few factors that made this concert special:

  1. This was the first time KISS has properly toured the U.S. since 2004.
  2. It had been 11 years since KISS’ last appearance at the Garden, the last was the 2 opening shows on the PSYCHO CIRCUS tour in November 1998.
  3. The first tour featuring new material since PSYCHO CIRCUS in 1998.
  4. My 11 yr. old daughter was finally going to see the band, the spectacle, that her daddy had been telling her about since birth.

Armed with tickets, cash for t-shirts, and a love for all things KISS, My best friend, my daughter and I made our way to Boston for the KISS show on the eve of the release of the band’s new studio album SONIC BOOM.

First thing I noticed was that this was going to be a diehards’ show. The last time the band played the Garden, they sold out 2 nights with the original lineup including Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. The band had just come off a 2 year world tour for their reunion so interest in KISS was still at a high. 11 years and 3 more tours later and interest in the band is slightly waning. There wasn’t the usual huge crowd roaming the sidewalks on Boston or the concourses in the arena, it was a big crowd but you could tell it wasn’t going to be a sellout. The second thing I noticed was the souveneirs or lack there of. Usually, the KISS machine has a ton of good and different choices for shirts, hats, posters, etc. I was a little disappointed by the selection and I was hoping for a little more SONIC BOOM representation, most of the merchandise was for the ALIVE 35 Tour. It is the 35th anniversary of KISS and they’ve toured on that platform in other parts of the world so they are continuing it on this leg of the tour, I’m expecting a SONIC BOOM tour when the band announces their second U.S. leg in the Spring and/or Summer. The good news is that we had awesome seats on the Gene side of the stage and my daughter was extremely excited.

Buckcherry setlist:

Tired Of You
Next 2 You
Lit Up
Out Of Line
Talk To Me
Rescue Me
Highway Star
Everything
Sorry
Crazy Bitch

I’ve seen Buckcherry in concert back when they opened for AC/DC on the STIFF UPPER LIP Tour back in 2001 and they were very good. I have been a Buckcherry fan before most people even knew who they were. I remember reading a review in a ‘zine back in 1997 on their self-titled debut and I picked it up right away. This is before ‘Lit Up’ went to radio and they became the “next big thing”. The band was complete high energy and had the crowd going but I could have done with a more diverse setlist. Half the set was from their 2006 release, 15, and three tunes came from the current BLACK BUTTERFLY. That only leaves two songs for older material and everyone knew they were playing ‘Lit Up’, I was a little disappointed by the cover of Deep Purple’s ‘Highway Star’ but I understand they have to promote their affiliation with NASCAR. The best part of ‘Highway Star’ was when the 20-somethings in front of us were raving about how cool this “new” Buckcherry song was and my 11 yr. old daughter  told them it was a Deep Purple song. I’m a proud father! I kind of expected a few more from BLACK BUTTERFLY, especially ‘Too Drunk’, but you have to capitalize on success any way you can and 15 was a great (self-released) comeback for the band.

KISS setlist:

King Of The Night Time World
Deuce
Got To Choose
Modern Day Delilah
Hotter Than Hell (w/fire breathing)
I Stole Your Love
C’mon And Love Me
Parasite
She (w/guitar solo & rockets)
Watchin’ You
100,000 Years (w/drum solo)
I Love It Loud (w/bass solo, blood spitting & Gene flying)
Black Diamond (w/’Stairway To Heaven’ intro & Eric Singer on lead vocals)
Rock And Roll All Nite

Encore:
Shout It Out Loud
Lick It Up
Let Me Go, Rock ‘N’ Roll
Love Gun (w/Paul Stanley flying)
Detroit Rock City

Like I said, nothing is better than seeing your favorite band in concert. The problem is that your enjoyment can cloud your opinion of the overall performance. There were plenty of people after the show saying it was the best KISS show they had seen…..this was my 16th KISS show and I can honestly say that this wasn’t their best performance. It wasn’t terrible but this concert didn’t live up to the standards the band has set since the Reunion Tour.

Paul Stanley billed the show as “a night of KISS Klassics” and the setlist was a combination of ALIVE & ALIVE II. Unfortunately there weren’t any surprises in the set, all the songs they played with the exception of ‘Modern Day Delilah’ have been rotated in and out of the set since 1996. The diehards like myself love hearing ‘Parasite’, ‘She’, and ‘Got To Choose’ but a truly special night would have been if they pulled out a couple tracks they never play, something they did back in 2004. The other thing I didn’t like was that they basically ignore the ’80s material except for ‘I Love It Loud’ and ‘Lick It Up’…..let’s hear something else from the ’80s and not ignore a pivotal and successful era of KISS! All complaints aside, I sang every word and cheered for every song. I’m a KISS fan and I still enjoyed the show. At least they pulled ‘Calling Dr. Love’ from the set, I can’t stand that song!

The stage was massive as was the giant video screen. The fireworks, bombs and fire all worked with perfection as did all the stunts and gimmicks. My problem was with the stage moves. Tommy Thayer is a talented guitarist and a good fit for the band but does he have to try and imitate all of Ace Frehley’s moves? I understand he has to play like Ace but does he have to do the staggering and off-balance walking too? Ace Frehley actually walked like that in the platform boots in real life and Tommy is doing an imitation, it’s not a character trait or stage move. The stage moves with the band up front swinging their guitars or having Tommy/Ace on his knees playing in front of Gene & Paul all seemed forced. Even Paul’s dance moves looked forced but he gets a pass due to his new hip. Like a true KISS fan, I cheered for all these things anyway. The sound was very good. Musically the band sounded tight and energized but the vocals were a little rough. Most KISS fans know Gene Simmons lost his vocal range back on the 2003 tour but his vocals were pretty good, it was Paul Stanley’s voice that concerned me, it sounded like he was straining and was hoarse. It’s possible that at age 58 he has lost some of his vocal range but he sounded good in 2006 at age 56 on his solo album and tour. My concerns were backed up when I saw the performance the next night on TV during the David Letterman Show. Maybe Paul needed to warm up because he sounded better as the set went on after ‘Modern Day Delilah’ but some of the higher notes were rough. Still, it’s something to worry about when the major person of talent in the band doesn’t perform well. Eric Singer did a solid job singing lead on ‘Black Diamond’ and it was good to hear the new ‘Modern Day Delilah’ live.

Despite my criticism of the performance, I really enjoyed myself. When the band was playing I was pumping my fist and having a great time singing along. My excitement was built up by my daughter’s wide-eyed and jaw dropped reaction to seeing everything happen right before her eyes. She screamed, sang, danced and cheered louder than some of the adults around us…..and that was just for Buckcherry! Everytime KISS did a stunt or lit off their pyro all she could say was “Wow!” My daughter was awestruck and it took me back to when I was a kid and my reaction to seeing KISS for the first time. That alone made the show a whole lot better. This is the first leg of the U.S. tour and I’m sure now that SONIC BOOM is released KISS will do another leg of shows over the Summer. If so, I will be there and I will still enjoy myself. They may be getting older, they may be losing some of their luster, but there is no denying that even an average KISS show is still a great concert.

What’s coming in October…..

Nothing is worse than planning to do something and not getting to finish it. I had planned to do a project in August that I would review 31 albums from 2009 in 31 days…..didn’t happen. As many of you know, I got injured and couldn’t sit at the computer. So I tried again in September with a continuation of the project, 30 album reviews in 30 days…..didn’t happen. I was only able to do 10 reviews and life got in the way.

So what am I coming up with in October?

Not another project! I am definitely going to try and post more, especially album reviews, because the end of the year is coming and I want to expand my Year End lists. There are some great albums that have come out this year that I have just gotten to and some (hopefully) great albums to come. Setting up a project schedule hasn’t worked so I’m not trying it again for a while.

I have made the new KISS album, SONIC BOOM, the Album Of The Month for October and a review will be coming as soon as the album is released October 6th. I’m also going to see KISS in Boston on October 5th so there is definitely going to be a concert review also. Also, the Anvil documentary, Anvil: The Story Of Anvil, is finally getting a North American release on DVD and Blu-Ray October 6th so I will be grabbing my copy and reviewing it.

Outside of those three specific things, I have nothing else planned. I’ve let the site go down a bit the last couple of months but I’m hoping to revive things and finish the last few months of the year on a high note.

– Steve